10 Happy Foods To Level Up Your Mood
We’ve all heard the saying “Feel good Food”. Typically this refers to mac & cheese, pizza or a big whopping cheeseburger. While all are completely delicious and great for those naughty day noshes, they’re not exactly the best options for everyday healthy eating.
I love to eat. Who doesn’t, right?! It makes me happy. There are lots of foods that not only taste great but provide a multitude of nutrients that trigger a good mood. Nice! Here’s a quick list of my go-to favorites that are always on hand in my fridge and lunchbox.
1. Walnuts: These nuts look like brains so they must be good for our brains too right? Well they are! Walnuts are king of the nut world and are shown to improve brain function. High in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant based omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts should be the star of the party!
2. Coffee: Since most of us can’t begin our day without it, we can rejoice that coffee remains on the healthy must drink list. And stick with the caffeinated stuff (just don’t drink it all day!). This elixer of the Gods inceases dopamine, a neuotransmitter that’s key in motivation, focus and productivity and is vital to our motor control and cognitive function. Coffee gives us a nice energy boost and contains the essential nutrients riboflavin, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin. Two to four cups a day is a good rule of thumb. Drink up!
3. Yogurt: Yogurts contains probiotic bacteria which is great for our gut. Recent studies show that probiotics may help us keep stress in check too. The study showed this “good” bacteria led to decreased anxiety and depression and reduced sad thoughts. Yogurt is great for breakfast and snacking. Make sure the label says “live and active cultures” to get the probiotic benefits.
4. Quinoa: This has become my new favorite side dish and for good reason. Quinoa contains quercetin which is a flavanoid shown to offer anti-depressant effects. It’s hearty and yummy and extremely versitile so grab yourself a bag and get the creativity flowing!
5. Spinach: Mom always said “eat your greens”. As usual, mom’s right! Spinach is filled with folic acid which can reduce fatique and depression. The list of nutritional accolades for this leafy wonder is as long as the summer solstice. Niacin, zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese just to name a few!
6. Bananas: We all know this perfectly packaged fruit contains potassium but did you know they also contain plenty of tryptophan and folate too? Tryptophan is a brain chemical that regulates our mood while folate can ward off depression. Go grab one!
7. Wild Salmon: Salmon and other wild caught fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Why should we love this? Well, these awesome fatty acids can fight depression and improve our mood. They’re also great for our hair, skin and nails and that alone can make us happier! Not sure if you love salmon? Give it a try. There are tons of yummy recipes on the web and it can be prepared in so many ways.
8. Turkey: Again with the tryptophan! Turkey reigns supreme with it’s levels compared to other lean meat sources. It stimulates our serotonin production causing a natural good feeling helping us sleep better and keep depression at bay. Thanksgiving year round anyone?
9. Eggs: Some call eggs the perfect food. Eggs are high in protein, inexpensive and pack a tremendous amount of nutrients in their petite package. Why are they good for our noggin’s. They’re high in choline which can help boost memory. We can all use a better memory! Eat the whole egg not just the white to reap all the nutritional benefits.
10: Dark Chocolate: Yes, yes, yes! I don’t know too many people who don’t simply love a piece of chocolate. The dark variety is choc full (get it!) of antioxidants. Even better, studies show it can reduce our nasty stress hormone cortisol, which is known to increase belly fat. Hip hip hooray for dark chocolate!
There are more good mood foods out there but this should get you started. Level up your grocery list and happy eating!
Photo provided by The Magic Tuba Pixie